Over the past few weeks Arc families, participants, employees, and community partners may have received communication about the upcoming accreditation process with The Council on Quality and  Leadership (CQL).  You may have found yourself asking, what is accreditation and why does it matter?

What is accreditation?

In most jobs, employees receive annual reviews to gain feedback on how they can do a better job. Accreditation is similar to an employee review.  CQL, an international organization, visits the St. Louis Arc once every four years to look at our entire agency and the quality of services that we provide.  First the St. Louis Arc works with CQL to provide the necessary information regarding our services and procedures) for them to begin the review process.  Then CQL visits the Arc and uses four important tools to help access how the agency is doing:

  1. Basic Assurances® ensure accountability for Heath, Safety and Human Security. CQL looks at systems and practices, and their effectiveness, person by person.
  1. Shared Values assess what drives the organization. This takes into account our mission, vision, and core values and how they are embedded in our operations.
  2. Personal Outcome Measures® are used to identify people’s definition of quality of life, supports, and gather information and data about individual outcomes.
  3. Person-Centered Excellence Key Factors and Success Indicators define quality in terms of person-centered supports and services.

Why you would seek an organization that is accredited?

For Medicaid, and many funding sources, an agency needs to be either licensed or accredited.  To be licensed means an agency meets the set requirements of policies and procedures.  The St. Louis Arc meets these basic standards, but chooses to take the next step by also looking at the outcomes of our programs and the quality of life of participants.  Therefore, accreditation pushes us to improve the quality of services in a variety of areas.

Why CQL makes us better?

Since 1983, the St. Louis Arc has been continuously accredited by CQL. We consider this distinction a badge of honor because CQL standards are recognized by federal and state government as benchmarks for excellence. Additionally, few organizations that specialize in supporting people with disabilities ever receive this kind of recognition. Accreditation through CQL pushes us beyond compliance into true person-centered services. The CQL team brings a wealth of knowledge of innovative practices across the world and uses it to help us identify opportunities for growth.  The end result of our accreditation process is a plan of action that will address our top priorities to reach Person-Centered Excellence over the next four years.

How can you help?

If you would like to help, please complete a 5 minute survey to rate us on how we are doing

CQL will visit the St. Louis Arc November 1 – 4 for the accreditation process. St. Louis Arc participants, families, employees, volunteers, funders, and community supporters are welcome to attend the opening presentation on Tuesday, November 1 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. and the presentation of action plans on Friday, November 4 at 9:00 a.m. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Rachel Bradshaw at


Stephanie Scott is the Director of Quality Enhancement, joining the St. Louis Arc in 2010.  She oversees efforts to improve quality of services at the St. Louis Arc, including accreditation through CQL. If you have questions about the accreditation process please free to contact Stephanie at 314-817-2274 or